35 killed as China bus plunges over cliff: Reports

BEIJING (AFP) - At least 35 people died on Friday when a bus apparently plunged off a cliff in China, reports said, in the latest deadly traffic incident in the country.

The accident in Chunhua county, in the northern province of Shaanxi, killed 35 people with another 11 injured, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Pictures posted online, which could not be immediately verified, showed a white bus on its side at the bottom of a steep, partially-forested red cliff.

The injured were being treated and the cause of the crash was being investigated, said county authorities, who initially put the toll at 30.

Fatal road accidents are a serious problem in China, where traffic regulations are often flouted.

More than 200,000 people are killed on China's notoriously dangerous roads every year, the World Health Organization said this month.

Government data for road deaths in China is shrouded in secrecy, like many statistics in the country, and the WHO figures are strikingly higher than official pronouncements.

The most recent figures available from the ministry of transport, cited by a vice-minister at a forum, said 60,000 people were killed on the roads in 2012.

In August last year, a tour bus plunged into a valley in Tibet after hitting two vehicles, leaving 44 people dead and 11 injured.

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